I love to entertain outdoors because here in sunny Queensland, Australia we have great weather for doing just that. No matter where you live though, I think it is important to have a little outdoor sanctuary to sit with a warm tea or cold glass of wine or a place to entertain friends or family.
Styling up your outdoor area should be seen as an extension of your home’s interior. The look, feel and theme should flow from the indoors to the outside creating a seamless transition. The colours you choose may not need to be exactly the same but it’s the extension of the feel that is important. The outside should be as inviting and relaxing as the inside.

What items can you use style an outdoor area?
Here is a list of items that I like to use to make my outdoor area homely and inviting.
1. Cushions
2. Plants
3. Lanterns
4. Candles
5. Bowls, trays, boxes
6. Natural elements such as shells, driftwood,
7. Outdoor rugs
When friends pop over at night, the candles are all lit, the main lights are turned off and a warm natural glow makes it feel cosy and inviting. Turn out the lights, especially if you have those horrible white (earth-friendly) globes. Layer up your spaces with as many natural elements as possible as plants, shells, timber items etc. all make us relax without realising it.

What items can you use style an outdoor table?
If you want to keep things simple like in this image, use natural items such as:
1.Seagrass or linen placemats or tablecloths
2. Earthy toned plates or plain white
3. Candles placed on plates (you could source these in a second hand store)
4. Plants and flowers from your garden (use what you have)

I am put off by plastics….. I think that in our outdoors we should avoid them. The thing is, they end up as landfill pretty quickly in the life cycle of our homes. You can pick up such well-priced china, glassware, bowls and pots at numerous stores or you can source from flea markets and second hand stores. So my tip is to avoid plastics and always go for long-lasting items even if they are a little mismatched. I bought 2 dinner sets for my daughters 2nd birthday for $40 total. I have never bought plastic plates and cups for her birthday parties ever since, as year after year the same set comes out.

Outdoor areas that have no cover or roof?
If you have an outdoor space that is uncovered it can be a real challenge to keep the sun, rain and dare I say snow, off your outdoor areas. You have to be able to deal with the elements and here in Queensland uncovered areas are not that common because of the heat. If your challenge is an uncovered outdoor area, here is what I would recommend.
1. You have to keep the outdoor styling simple with furniture and items that can handle the conditions and easily wiped clean.
2. Keep inside a nice selection of cushions, lanterns and candles that can be easily bought outside for when you use them.
3. Make sure pot plants are large and robust enough to cope with days without rain or water. Small pots plants can be very demanding.
Tip: Fairy lights that can be left in place can be a good option to create ambience without the need for candles and lanterns.

I love the use of timber and wicker as much as possible in outdoor areas. They stand the test of time and look and feels so much more comfortable than plastic or metal. The thing is that they never really go out of fashion and you can mix any colour with it. Naturally adding plants to the table, cosy cushions and wicker lanterns just makes for a simple, yet very stylish outdoor area.

The bottom line is that you should find lovely but practical things for styling your outdoods and of course many of those items may need to be taken in and out as you need. Just ensure the items you start with like furniture, pots, lanterns can withstand the weather.

Until next time,
Love your home and those within it.

Carmen x

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